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talisman

Steel or GRP?

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Had to sell my 40ft steel nb last year due to a family crisis. Had been a liveaboard for 14 years.

Looks like I will have to buy another boat or rent a flat lol.

Anyway I am beginning to come around to the idea of a GRP cruiser as a liveaboard.

I will have a max of 25k available.

However most steel boats at this price are old , with hulls that have seen better days. I spent 6/7k on my last boat to keep the surveyor happy. I know there are exceptions around , but not many.

So....I thought , save the hassle of worrying about rust and pitting and buy a GRP.

Ok they have disadvantages when considering internal space and perhaps condensation.

But I'm sure I could fit a stove and whatever else is needed for comfort.

Am I kidding myself lol.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

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There's some excellent GRP boats out there for less than 10K. With 25K, I reckon you can get far more boat for your money if you look beyond samey steel narrowboats. ;)

 

Go for it.

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Do you want narrow or wide? If wide broad cruisers can make very good floating homes and the hulls are strong very strong

Edited by peterboat
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1 hour ago, peterboat said:

Do you want narrow or wide? If wide broad cruisers can make very good floating homes and the hulls are strong very strong

We lived aboard a GRP Broads cruiser and we were always warm, no condensation issues and I fitted a Glembring drip feed diesel heater which meant having a chimney which was not a problem to fit.

As it was built circa 1980 it was built like a tank. Back in those days GRP was relatively new material for boats and you can imagine the conversation, " well how thick shall we make it? I dunno, 1/2 inch? Nah make it 3/4, OK"

To put a through hull fitting in I had to go through from both sides with a hole saw. The boat was 40'x12'

Phil

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I've always had steel boats but so long as the boat was suitable for my needs I would now be happy with GRP, its got advantages over steel but the cruiser format might be difficult to adapt to living in. Anything but wood for me (I really, really like wooden boats but I haven't got the skills to maintain them)

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Looking at Broome 30 ,also known as Ocean 30 etc. Few about asking around 22.5k. Widths 9 and 10 feet.

Looks promising, have to check one over.

 

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If your budget is £25k you can look at boats a bit over that as they are always open to offers. I would be looking at boats advertised at up to around £35k if you are in a position to offer a quick cash sale.

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19 hours ago, talisman said:

Had to sell my 40ft steel nb last year due to a family crisis. Had been a liveaboard for 14 years.

Looks like I will have to buy another boat or rent a flat lol.

Anyway I am beginning to come around to the idea of a GRP cruiser as a liveaboard.

I will have a max of 25k available.

However most steel boats at this price are old , with hulls that have seen better days. I spent 6/7k on my last boat to keep the surveyor happy. I know there are exceptions around , but not many.

So....I thought , save the hassle of worrying about rust and pitting and buy a GRP.

Ok they have disadvantages when considering internal space and perhaps condensation.

But I'm sure I could fit a stove and whatever else is needed for comfort.

Am I kidding myself lol.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

25K will be more than enough for a fibreglass cruiser. You need to ask yourself several questions.

Wide beam or narrowbeam. Staying in one place or cruising.Petrol or diesel.Outboard,outdrive or shaft.

Livingaboard requires heating,(a stove) in which case forget about petrol.

Outdrives have not got a very good reputation for reliability,and I can only think of two narrowbeams with shaft drive (Freeman and Creighton) I am sure there are others.

As Mr Ambrose pointed out,an older GRP cruiser is likely to be more substantially built than a modern one.

 

My choice would be an older widebeam,70s or 80s,shaft driven, diesel engine. so you could more safely fit a solid fuel stove. 

 

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1 minute ago, Mad Harold said:

25K will be more than enough for a fibreglass cruiser. You need to ask yourself several questions.

Wide beam or narrowbeam. Staying in one place or cruising.Petrol or diesel.Outboard,outdrive or shaft.

Livingaboard requires heating,(a stove) in which case forget about petrol.

Outdrives have not got a very good reputation for reliability,and I can only think of two narrowbeams with shaft drive (Freeman and Creighton) I am sure there are others.

As Mr Ambrose pointed out,an older GRP cruiser is likely to be more substantially built than a modern one.

 

My choice would be an older widebeam,70s or 80s,shaft driven, diesel engine. so you could more safely fit a solid fuel stove. 

 

I have an old Broads cruiser as well, its all ripped out and I have fitted an electric drive to it, I can like Phil says, swear to how solidly they are built, battleship thicknesses spring to mind

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6 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

25K will be more than enough for a fibreglass cruiser. You need to ask yourself several questions.

Wide beam or narrowbeam. Staying in one place or cruising.Petrol or diesel.Outboard,outdrive or shaft.

Livingaboard requires heating,(a stove) in which case forget about petrol.

Outdrives have not got a very good reputation for reliability,and I can only think of two narrowbeams with shaft drive (Freeman and Creighton) I am sure there are others.

As Mr Ambrose pointed out,an older GRP cruiser is likely to be more substantially built than a modern one.

 

My choice would be an older widebeam,70s or 80s,shaft driven, diesel engine. so you could more safely fit a solid fuel stove. 

 

You can very safely fit diesel heating to petrol powered boats. Diesel heating would be my option for any GRP boat rather then a stove. There is far less mess involved. 

 

Our outdrive has been really very reliable but and it is a big but we do service it every year which does need to be factored in because even doing the work ourselves it is not cheap. It does however offer the benefits of offering better fuel economy then a traditional shaft drive and also better access to very shallow water.

 

Older boats may well have used much thicker lay ups than newer GRP boats but that is only because the material was not so well understood. 

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10 minutes ago, peterboat said:

I have an old Broads cruiser as well, its all ripped out and I have fitted an electric drive to it, I can like Phil says, swear to how solidly they are built, battleship thicknesses spring to mind

The sheer number of old Broads boats still in hire gives testiment to their build. Hire boats however have always been laid up much more heavily then private boats as they are expected to be subject to far more bangs, knocks and scrapes over their lifetime.

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26 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

Wide beam or narrowbeam.

Just for the Op

 

A 7 foot narrowbeam GRP cruisier moored alongside my 14 foot widebeam cruisier

The 'little' one is 32 foot, we are 35 foot.

 

There is a HUGE internal space - our aft cabin has a queen size bed, wardrobes and dressing tables either side of the bed, an en-suite shower room and an en-suite toilet & basin.

Large saloon, separate Dining Room, Kitchen and forward cabin (with En-suite shower / toilet / basin)

 

A couple could live in great comfort. (Diesel heating)

 

It is not a Canal-Boat but the Rivers and the Seas are our 'Lobster'.

 

 

CAM00020.jpg

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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12 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

You can very safely fit diesel heating to petrol powered boats. Diesel heating would be my option for any GRP boat rather then a stove. There is far less mess involved. 

I am assuming you mean diesel (or gas) hot air heating as these systems are room sealed. Personally,I would be unhappy about fitting a non room sealed heating system (including non room sealed gas water heaters) on a petrol powered boat. I know people do fit unsafe (in my opinion) heating systems in their boats,but the thought of petrol vapour igniting in a fibreglass boat,fills me with horror.

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21 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

but the thought of petrol vapour igniting in a fibreglass boat,fills me with horror.

It would be far worse in a steel boat - at least with GRP the force will shatter the boat, with a steel hull all of the force will be retained inside and do a lot more damage to human tissue - bit like a 'round' going off inside a tank - the inhabitants are splatted .

 

The BSS decided to ban the use of gas-fridges on petrol boats but back-peddled and they can still be used with a flame trap.

 

8.2.2
On vessels with petrol propulsion engines that have non‐room‐sealed fridges with enclosed
burners, is the combustion air drawn and exhausted through a suitable effective flame trap
or piped to the appliance as required?

The air intakes and exhausts of non‐room‐sealed LPG or paraffin
refrigerators in vessels with petrol propulsion engines must pass
through a flame trap with a gauze of not less than 11 wires per
linear cm (28 wires/per inch) mesh.
If the combustion air is not drawn and exhausted through a
suitable flame trap, the combustion air and exhaust must be
piped to the appliance from either:
 outside the vessel; or,
 a point inside the vessel above the level of windows, other
openings, or other means of ventilation in the
accommodation space.

 

And for Commercial (hire etc) boats :

 

The provisions of this section of Part 8 in the 2002 BSS Standards are mandatory for non-private boats where applicable.

There have been numerous explosions resulting from the use of gas refrigerators with naked flames on petrol-powered boats. The low level permanent flame of a pilot light or burner could be the prime source of ignition for any stray petrol fuel or vapour. To prevent this happening the pilot lights and burners on LPG or paraffin refrigerators installed in boats with a petrol engine must be completely enclosed by a suitable flame trap.

exclamation.gif When starting to re-fuel, a flash explosion occurred that blew out the cabin windows and injured a woman, though fortunately no fire started. It was determined that even with the petrol pump nozzle fully inserted into the deck fuel connection, sufficient petrol vapour was produced to rise over the 175mm coaming, travel along the cockpit floor and into the cabin to be ignited by the permanent low-level burner flame on a LPG fridge. Before starting to fill, the pump attendant had asked specifically if any appliances were operating on board and was told “no”. [8.2]

Combustion air and combustion products must be drawn and expelled through a suitable flame trap. Alternatively, combustion air can be piped to the appliance from outside the vessel, or from a point inside the vessel above the level of any opening to the outside air. [8.2]

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Found quite a few decent broads boats. However , many are at marinas on the east coast. Bit of a problem getting onto the K&A lol.

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Excuse my ignorance lol.

I just assumed it would necessitate overland at some point.

I quickly tried Google but could not find any definitive answer.

 

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23 minutes ago, talisman said:

Excuse my ignorance lol.

I just assumed it would necessitate overland at some point.

I quickly tried Google but could not find any definitive answer.

 

Down the east Coast, turn right at the Thames estuary, keep going and arrive on the K&A

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Hmm have to look into it.

Never considered the east coast.

I was thinking more , canals and rivers lol.

 

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1 hour ago, talisman said:

Hmm have to look into it.

Never considered the east coast.

I was thinking more , canals and rivers lol.

 

A bit of nice weather - slip out at Lowestoft and you are up the Thames in no-time.

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10 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Down the east Coast, turn right at the Thames estuary, keep going and arrive on the K&A

Or stick it on a truck and get it there if the coast doesn't tickle your fancy. 

 

Transporting boats needn't be that expensive if you can work around back loads.

18 hours ago, Mad Harold said:

I am assuming you mean diesel (or gas) hot air heating as these systems are room sealed. Personally,I would be unhappy about fitting a non room sealed heating system (including non room sealed gas water heaters) on a petrol powered boat. I know people do fit unsafe (in my opinion) heating systems in their boats,but the thought of petrol vapour igniting in a fibreglass boat,fills me with horror.

That is why you fit equipment safely and in the correct fashion.

 

Let's not forget that there are plenty of fires on diesel powered boats as well.

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9 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

A bit of nice weather - slip out at Lowestoft and you are up the Thames in no-time.

Lovely lowestoft. We did the trip from Lowestoft via Walton backwaters, Southend and up to London. Think it was 6 hours sailing to Walton. 

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